In this second part of my feature write up – first of two parts – of noteworthy findings for this year of 2019.
You are reading someone else’s in-depth account/s of nutritional & life intervention/s spanning across ONE YEAR; covering everything from nutrition, psychology, supplementation and fitness training. All intertwined into both socio-economical and self-scientific (explorative) perspective. This is NOT a light reading.
Noteworthy findings & experiences.
Microwave cooking method = actually more comfortable than thought.
Yes, I have been for a few month(s) now – using microwave at cooking all my meats. Except eggs, the liver pate, some boned-in meats (eg. poultry thighs, drumsticks) and DIY breads only on refeed days. Compared to all my prior years using the stove, the pans, and the oven – the meats cooked and tasted fine. Most importantly? Digests comfortably just fine.
Despite my (generally positive) convictions in space of three months; I nevertheless do not think abstaining away from traditional cookware is by any means practical.
Nuking ritual begins with defrosting the meat with some presence of liquids (at least with some water or some stock but not overly submerged).Use one big bowl, and cover it with a plate. I find this heats everything more evenly.
Nuke for no more than five minutes on power “7” or even 6 on an aging 750W brick (although for chicken necks this needs slightly longer cooking time). All without any additional fats or oils on top (I only eat molten fats on TOP of everything; instead of it oxidised in excess by cooking). Then I let it everything sit on the bench for about five minutes (alongside with it combing with the leafy greens), before eating.
What research (if any) that explains whatever it is I am experiencing?
- Tenderness of meats and vegetables all seems equal on the microwave method; compared to conventional cooking.
- It seems that Heterocyclic Amines (or “HCA” for short) seems equally amplified as all “bad!” in all sentiments. Two studies however found that microwaving actually reduces HCAs. One examines beef patty BEFORE frying (yes, microwave briefly first AND then frying). And another looks at chicken – skin vs skinless – and not only microwaving reduces HCAs, the skinned chicken actually produces LESS HCA concentrations.
- I also revisited my other book (Dietary AGEs) – in which a referenced study suggest that microwaving bacon outrageously produces different AGEs readings. 91,577 KU (per 100g conventional dry cooking method as is on the pan no oil), against just 9,023 KU on the same per 100g weight on microwave. Likewise, comparing grilled chicken to that of microwaved chicken for five minutes are 4,848 KU vs 1,524 KU respectively.
What about carbohydrates? Other than me having cooked potatoes with it for convenience, I am yet to try prepping other carbohydrates with a microwave.
Nevertheless studies proclaiming microwave cooking effects on tubers, starches and vegetables remains interesting. This study (and few others cited within) showed that compared to baking or steaming various sweet potatoes – microwaving seemed to inhibit maltose content. A statement within is as quoted “Microwave cooking can therefore be an ideal method for food preparations where high sugar content is not a desirable attribute.” (page4/6). Vegetables; likewise get a slight nod towards microwaving than boiling or pressure cooking; to ensure least loss of nutrients. Interestingly, that same study claimed some vegetables – celery in particular lost the most nutrients with the boiling method.
So, a good idea throw away the gas altogether? I’d say no. Cooking on stainless steel helps deposit some key helpful minerals – manganese, chromium, iron, and magnesium; the more it’s used the less these metals gets deposited from their (initially) questionably effects. The oven is still my preferable method for whey cheesecake recipe to lightly “bloom” as it should be. Also, either oven-baking or pan frying quick DIY breads for refeed days produces better results. And also, the precious liver pate via microwave method wouldn’t be a good idea; as livers are prone to explode all over.
Irrespective nuke or not nuke – my post-cooking methodology remains unchanged whenever handling omega-6 rich meats. I still drain away most off the omega 6 liquids after cooking. Also, if I were to anticipate bolus amount of processed and/or deli meats, I would reach for Vitamin E (500IU or less) with the meal nevertheless as bit of insurance contingency.
Red Meats + Vitamin C sources = no good combination?
Lately I have been noticing that combining (almost) anything of citric acid with red meats, particularly beef and/or lambs curiously somewhat leads to inflammatory like conditions. There appears to be strong argument to keep those two apart away from each other. I am no biochemist, but my succinct understanding thus far suggests that “Free” iron; in other words if it is not bound to any transporter by blood –then it is dangerously inflammatory (aka. “Fenton Reaction”).
Whilst this concept initiative is by no means prescriptive, the following remains useful to those who are worried / contemplating about iron intake overloads:
- A study seems to suggest white poultry meats (0.12-0.15mg /100g) and pork (0.20-0.75mg/100g) to contain less heme or the more active Iron than beef (0.93-2.11mg / 100g).
- Another reason to raise another cup for black coffees! Helps inhibit excess iron absorption. Green / Ceylon / Black teas likewise seemingly helps; although beware that all teas seemingly inhibits BOTH heme and non heme iron absorption.
- …Unexpectedly – Nitrites, yes the demon preservative in deli meats – appears to reduce TBARS concentrations AND the Fenton Reaction altogether.
- ….And perhaps the most unexpected of all – raise a glass for alcohol. Although it seems that it is only the Organic form of iron that gets largely mediated. While inorganic iron forms remains unaffected.
Chicken necks & giblets = another affordable organ meats.
Thyroid health is a tricky matter in very low carbohydrate interventions. Unfortunately, I seldom can no longer afford gelatin powders or $3.50 nori sheets throughout this year. Hence an alternative must be sought. Enter chicken necks. The best deal I could find (though inconsistent) are during weekend morning scouts at Woolworths® : $2.5 for a 1kg bag short-dated clearance.
I cannot get a confirmation as to the exact amounts of thyroid hormones. But chicken necks seems a very potent source for it. Also containing traces of protein, bit of fats and also some much needed gelatin in the more chewable parts (particularly the bottom and top).
A recent new addition to the table is chicken giblets. Technically speaking “giblets”consist of necks, hearts, livers and gizzards. But the only one brand available here in Australia (usually Stegglers®) at $3 for 500g only contains gizzards. These appear to be a muscular gland responsible for grinding incoming food matter. The 41 mcg selenium content per 100g seemed valuable importance. If purchased straight from a butcher, there’s a caution you must wash these thoroughly; because of the fine ground debris that may still remain embedded. If you are familiar with the texture of ox hearts, this is similar. But noticeably more chewy and slightly tougher.
Food for thought – not often do we get to see human trials on organ meat consumptions on EXISTING real pathologies. There seems to be a convincing study that chicken gizzards appear to reduce renal calculi stones very effectively.
…Although I wonder, how vegetarianism may responds to that study’s concluding statement – “Therefore, chicken gizzard substance was helpful to prevent the primary stages of stone development.” (Einollahi, B. et al. 2017).
Saturated Fats = interestingly re-emerged as my preference of fats.
This year confirms yet once again a pattern of suspicion since 2018. I find myself preferring towards a Saturated fat preference; especially towards the much cooler seasons. The unexpected earlier-than-usual morning wakefulness, and then that “sponge-like”, attentive effect to the brain were somehow more frequent. Maybe my gut functions has changed since I incorporated the free form glutamate in many condiments (see below / next highlight). Maybe I have adopted controversially different cooking methodology (see previously above). Or perhaps it’s the chicken necks with the thyroid.
My last year’s “complaint” that saturated fats causes sleep problems interestingly – did not seem to impair my sleep quality throughout this year. Instead, led me to have had more wakeful mornings. Conversely, my previous preference towards Monounsaturated fats – from olive oils on the other hand = curiously led me to more “stressful” mornings. I do not know why this is.
Alas, the classic problem persists. Affordability. So far I have resorted primarily only that of short-dated, expired creams.
Free form Glutamates / flavour enhancers = not a bad thing after all?
My new “experimental” solid meals throughout much of later parts of winter and springs involved incorporating fish sauce, and good old’ soy sauce (see my Guide on that here). And what a revelation: digestion resilience, comfort and glycogen uptake was markedly improved.
Looking at the word Glutamates sounds very similar to… Glutamine. This coincides to the tightly regulated Glutamate-Glutamine cycle (GABA) between Glutamate (being the “excitory”) and GABA (being the “inhibitory”) (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid) roles towards gut function . And also – a pre-cursor / process towards the proclaimed “master antioxidant” Glutathione synthesis.
As we’re increasingly worried about insulin sensitivity – the devil monosodium glutamate or MSG if given a large enough dosage (150mg / body weight kg) – actually seemed to improve glucose metabolism. Although I do not think such massive dosage is in anyway practical nor do I want all my meals to taste exactly the same as soy sauce, still – my own experiences are compelling enough to not eliminate natural glutamates altogether.
My hunch for many years remains strongly as such that if any food does not taste “good”, then there’d likely be LESS incentive for effective nutrient partitioning. There likely be no incentive for all the rest of the digestive chain to be readily motivated enough; to act synergistically together.
Neuroscience is likely beyond my reach. But here is at least a paper explaining glutamate’s role towards various digestion processes.
Plant Omega 3s and 6s PUFAs update / I no longer feel good on linseed.
My curiosity(s) on the Omega 6 since last year remains inconclusive to this day as neither black or white. However I am likely sensitive to some type(s) more than others. Nonetheless it’s so tempting to reword the Omega-6 as the “666” Three-Headed-Serpents in-crime: The Soy, The Sunflower and The Sesame.
…Although the most harmful Omega-6 I’ve tried – is Grapeseed Oils. Scary disaster. Inflammatory symptoms immediately apparent even when incorporated on “safe” meal such as simple broths stocks & soups with ACV.
The above effects were not; as I remembered to be as intensive to my early test / experiences on O-6 PUFAs on Keto/LCIF days. Nuttelex® original, then Sunny Vale (by ALDI®), Woolworths® cheap tablespread, and most recently addition to the curiosity – Rice Bran oil. So far, It is difficult for me to discern which of these is the most “comfortable”. That is – the one that produces least inflammatory effects or concerns after consumption. My first heavy experiment last year; being Nuttelex® and Heinz Aioli to complement as condiment both actually did make me sick for a while. As in cold/flu like immune-system “sick“. I still do get similar response this year, but far lesser in severity (only a runny nose for an hour then gone afterwards).
The cheap table spread being a combination of both canola and palm oil on the other hand; remains confusingly elusive in their effects. On few PUFA experiment week/s I feel no inflammatory effects on solely using these both on feature main meals and dessert whey cheesecake meals. Yet on somedays there is some hints as what I similarly felt from Grapeseed oils; although never to the point of very strikingly painful as in I had to get up and “do something” to help quell the response. Eg. taking emergency Vitamin E, or Vitamin K2, or the precious COQ10, and followed by warm water+ACV+Lemon+Baking soda.
The newest “test” subject – Rice Bran Oil – is interesting. With a couple of “workarounds” I managed to get past its induced hints of inflammations; similar to the Grapeseed oil.
Those two workarounds are: 1). Implement some lemon juice (though still need experimenting with more various red meat sources), and 2). Kept the oil REFRIGERATED and only served it lukewarm/dressing. Symptoms were markedly reduced to almost negligible. I attribute this perhaps due to the Vitamin E content; particularly its potentially diabetic friendly element – the gamma oryzanol (though only rat-studied). Unfortunately so far I could not find any literatures examining whether storage and/or prolonged temperature interventions would affect any of the PUFA’s oxidative characteristics or its fatty acid compositions.
Nonetheless, digging more general research on various types of Vitamin E led me to a human study on various lung functions. Interestingly not all Vitamin E’s are perhaps equal in interpretations. The study finds :
- Gamma Tocopherols : in canolas (though technically not entirely O6 PUFAs) & soy = appears harmful to lung function. In the case for the Woolworth®’s cheap table spread; it appears that canolas (which according to the study is “bad” for lung function) seemed to conflict with the palm oil, which is richer in Alpha-Tocopherol; in which that appears to be neuroprotective.
- Alpha Tocopherols: In olive oils & sunflower = appears protective to lung function. Interestingly this study found that Grapeseed Oils have both alpha and gamma composition, although the balance suggests it is more towards Gamma than it is Alpha. As according to Chris Masterjohn’s Vitamin E masterclass (16 mins onwards), Alpha-Tocopherols appears to be far more bindable to the a-TTP transporter (100%) for its uptake to the brain; as opposed to Gamma’s (3%).
Irrespective, for contingencies and insurance – I’d still rely on additional Vitamin-E supplement at least twice a week should there is nothing but O-6 PUFAs in the fats inventory. Meanwhile I do not feel comfortable on using grapeseed oils; because I still mildly experiencing the above harmful effect even if just small amounts of use in and outside of – refeed days. However, the Rice Bran Oil seems to me – if for as long as they remain refrigerated – does not seem to elude the above effects. Though once again, were this conviction to stay true for the future months on end – still remains too early to tell.
My previously beloved linseed meals? I may likely revise my stance on this. I somehow do not feel good on linseed meals throughout this year. Significantly noticeable psychological malaise upon next fasting windows, with hints of training performance decrements one after another. How do I know this? Self-Enquiry scrutiny spanning throughout many weeks on and off, to then month(s) of reconciling from what I’ve written.
Vitamin D & K2 revisited.
For as long as two years, I have ambivalent thoughts on K2 (specifically MK7 supplementation). Early in 2018; it brought me great relief of inflammation. Yet also…moments of worrying heart palpitations. I am not the only one alone in this paradox, as there are many likewise anecdotes. Here, here, another one here, and here. A consensus appears consistent from these threads – that taking Vitamin K2, yet without Vitamin D or dietary calcium – seems a bad idea.
….Most recently, Chris Masterjohn covered a video on this paradox. If I understood his response correctly, there appears to be an “adaptation” period; somehow involving bone resorbtion’s change of homeostasis from bolus intakes of K2. And this is thought to affect plasma level of calcium.
…However I am still yet at a loss as to what that means; especially Vitamin K2 is always shown to drive calcium into the bones. How this affects calcium in the blood still remains mystery to me; which may not explain the above scary symptoms that many do experience.
Thankfully, fast forward to 2019 I began incorporating back several dosages (180mcg each for up to 3 days) per week of Keto/LCIF cycle, with no issues. I take it during my late night cheese intake of either ext. tasty cheddar; (or if I can seldom afford it – the precious Gouda for extra dose of natural MK2). However as another safety “workaround” at avoiding the above symptoms is taking it during mixed meal refeed feature meals in refeed day(s). Not entirely 33/33/33 FPC ratio, but more towards 20/30/50.
Please note that this regiment has been only for a month and half, but so far there appears to be no adverse symptoms. My convictions may alter in due course so the above are still somewhat preliminary thoughts.
Vitamin D; liquids form-on-skin preferred?
Vitamin D’s effects; is a lot more diverse than calcium metabolism. Gut flora, digestive health is only few amongst hundreds; by whom Vitamin D Wiki remains an excellent further reading. I prefer Liquid forms slightly more than dry / tableted forms. Because I believe the overall feeling of “ease” – particularly digestion wise – was somehow more immediate when applied on skin (necks and arms). Topical studies of Vitamin D are far and few but here is a study proclaiming this raises 25-OHD levels to a meaningful amount. Although I am unable to determine whether the delivery vehicle used in that study (“proniosomal gel“) is comparable to that as a fatty acid or to a water based vehicle.
For the liquid versions I have on hand are – Pipingrock®’s Vitamin D (PUFA Sunflower oil as vehicle), and Nature’s Answer (EVOO as vehicle). The Nature’s Answer® brand was almost two years old (all used up of course in the photo above); but is considerably more expensive. Either one “works” to some capacity. However, Pipingrock’s Vitamin D were it to be mixed on food – gave me slight heartburn. From memory I do not account such an effect from Nature’s Answer®.
It needs to be said also, that 90% of all my fasting windows this year – I no longer take Vitamin D. I generally do not take any supplements during these windows anyway; except tiny surface bites of Aspirin should if feeling light-headed, with my black coffee/s.
What about the dry tablet forms (dry cellulose or lactose as vehicle) when it comes utilisation? This remains confusing to me. Conventional wisdom seemed to agree that oil based vehicles are more preferable. When all liquid vitamin D is exhausted and all dry tablet forms are all that’s available, I would at times consider a “mixed” tablet form – some calcium (although lesser quality carbonate), zinc, boron and copper.
My daily intake approximately amounts anywhere from at least 4000 all the way to 8000 IUs each and every day continuously; considering my on/off bouts of depression as well as lack of sunlight exposure.